Frequently Asked Questions
I really don't like visiting the dentist; is there anything you can do to help me relax?
Many people are uncomfortable with visiting the dentist. Your comfort is our highest priority and our office is designed so that you can enjoy a relaxing dental visit. Nitrous oxide is also offered to keep you comfortable and relaxed.
I brush every day, but my breath is just not fresh. Is there anything else I can do?
Millions of people struggle with halitosis, or bad breath, despite daily teeth brushing. Here is a checklist of procedures that can eliminate the problem: twice daily brushing, daily flossing and tongue cleaning; regular professional cleanings and careful cleaning of any dentures or removable dental appliances. However, if your hygiene is meticulous and the problem persists, we can offer several solutions.
First, we can provide a plastic tool called a tongue scraper that cleans away bacterial build-up on your tongue and significantly alleviates odor. Or we can recommend a specially prepared rinse or toothpaste designed to actually break the odor-causing sulfur bonds that cause bad breath. Finally, we may suspect a systemic or internal problem such as an infection or underlying condition, in which case we may recommend a visit with your family physician or specialist to identify the cause.
What is a crown, and why do I need one?
If your doctor has recommended a crown to you, it is likely either to correct a broken tooth or to repair a tooth that has deteriorated due to cavities (decay). The decay in your tooth eats away healthy tooth structure much like rust eats away at metal. If not removed, decay will deteriorate the tooth to the point where extraction is the only viable treatment option. Sometimes, decay is removed leaving healthy tooth structure, but not much of it. A crown can then be placed, restoring the look and function of your tooth while allowing you to keep your natural, underlying tooth structure. Most crowns are precision-milled porcelain or full metal (gold or silver) and are individually customized for each application in each patient, giving you a natural, long lasting smile.
I know I need X-Rays, but I'd prefer not to be exposed to unnecessary radiation. Do you offer digital X-rays?
Yes, we do offer digital X-Rays. Digital X-Rays use less radiation and are safer for you than traditional film X-Rays. You will find that in our dental practice, we research the latest trends in technology to find the solutions that promote your overall health, safety and comfort.
How does fluoride help my teeth?
Research shows that fluoride reduces cavities in both children and adults by halting tooth decay. It also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay becomes visible. Interestingly, many people continue to be misinformed about fluoride and fluoridation. Fluoride is a safe chemical component when used correctly. When your dentist applies fluoride to your teeth, usually in the form of a fluoride varnish, gel, or foam, that fluoride is more concentrated than the fluoride contained in toothpaste or mouthwash. The ADA recommends that dental professionals use any of the professional strength, fluoride varnishes, gels or foam products carrying the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
I just want my smile to look good. What are some options to help the appearance of my smile?
You are not alone. Most people want to have a nice smile since it is the first thing others notice about you. You may be interested in a few minor adjustments or may have concerns that need more attention. Some smiles can be enhanced with simple whitening or bonding treatments. Other smiles need porcelain veneers, crowns or bridges; gum contouring; periodontal therapy or a combination of all these techniques. Drs. Lee and Barton will suggest a treatment plan for you based on your goals, areas of concern and the overall condition of your oral health. Contact us for a complimentary smile evaluation to determine what course of action will produce the best solution for you.
I want my front teeth to look better, but I do not want to wear braces. What would you recommend?
Drs. Lee and Barton have a number of ways to improve the look of your front teeth without the use of braces. For slightly crooked or unevenly worn teeth, a bit of reshaping and the addition of porcelain veneers may be sufficient to give them a bright, uniform look. We would be happy to talk with you further about the option that best suits your individual situation.
Attention to detail, respect for the individual and a true concern for each patient are the hallmarks of our personal care and our quality product. We are committed to helping you fulfill your ultimate self-image.
How can losing a back tooth affect my smile?
Losing a back tooth will darken your overall smile making it look smaller and narrower. Your smile will appear to stop short, and the look will be exaggerated if your missing tooth has teeth on both sides of it. Function during chewing will be reduced and function of many teeth can be affected by losing just one tooth. When you are missing a tooth, you compensate by chewing differently, putting pressure on different parts of your mouth. This can cause your other teeth to shift, creating gaps and spaces and may even cause fractures that result in additional tooth loss or the need for restorations.
Optimal, comprehensive dentistry is what we practice at Lee & Barton DDS, and we do not base our treatment on what insurance will or will not pay. We base our treatment on what is best for you and, any treatment not paid by insurance is your financial responsibility.
What are my options to replace a missing tooth?
By replacing missing teeth either with a bridge or implant, you will alleviate the problems associated with missing a tooth and give your smile back to its beautiful, full appearance. A bridge is one solution for replacing a tooth. By using neighboring teeth as the supportive structure, your dentist at Lee & Barton DDS places a porcelain restoration into the vacant space, restoring the functionality and look of your smile. A dental implant is also an excellent solution. Dental implants involve the placement of a titanium post directly into the jawbone. Once the post has bonded to the bone, it can act as a new, solid support for a natural looking, porcelain restoration. Implants can replace a single tooth, or an entire set of teeth, offering more function and permanence than traditional dentures.
What can I expect from my first appointment?
During your first appointment, your overall dental and oral health will be assessed with a comprehensive oral evaluation. Upon completion of your medical / dental health form, we will ask you to tell us your goals regarding your smile, teeth, and gums. Digital photos and X-Rays will be taken of your teeth to identify areas of decay, cracked teeth and malfunctioning restorations. We’ll also assess your gums and recommend the appropriate hygiene treatment for you.
Do you accept new patient referrals?
Over the years patients have given us the compliment of referring family and friends to our practice. Our reputation for excellent dental care depends on two things: our good work and your beautiful smile. Your confidence in our care motivates us to continue to strive for excellence.
Thank you for your referrals. Your trust and support are greatly appreciated.
My teeth keep chipping and cracking. What causes this? What can I do about it?
Many people who notice chipped or cracked teeth, but don’t remember when the injury occurred, damaged their teeth while they were sleeping. Grinding or clenching your teeth during the night will cause your teeth to chip, crack and even break. To keep you from seriously damaging your teeth, we recommend a dental appliance called a night guard. A custom fitted night guard protects your teeth from grinding & clenching in your sleep. Drs. Lee and Barton take great care in making sure you have a proper fit to prevent pain in your jaw joint.
Do you suffer from headaches? You may find that a side benefit of your night guard is headache prevention. Many headaches start during the night, caused by the extreme pressure generated as you grind and clench your teeth. Ask us about having a night guard custom created for you.
My gums bleed after I brush. Is this something to be concerned about?
It is certainly not desirable to have bleeding gums following brushing. However, the condition may or may not require attention, depending on the source of the problem. Bleeding gums can be caused by any of the following: improper, rough ‘scrubbing’ instead of gentle, circular brushing motions; using a hard-bristled tooth brush instead of a soft one; plaque and/or tartar build-up below the gum line; or gum sensitivity due to gingivitis or periodontal disease. If this problem persists despite correct brushing and flossing methods or occurs every time you brush, contact our office to set up an evaluation appointment.
Sometimes when I chew I get a sharp pain. What can I do to correct this?
Most dental pain brought on by chewing is caused by a fracture, or crack, in the tooth. The pain can be corrected by placing an inlay/onlay, a porcelain crown, or with more advanced treatment. You want to correct the pain as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the tooth. Contact us today to schedule a visit.
How can I safely whiten my teeth?
There are a number of procedures available to help whiten your smile, from at-home whitening products to in-office supervised treatments. Drs. Lee and Barton evaluate the potential for whitening your teeth based on their current color and the causes of any discoloration. Once you decide on the most appropriate method, you will spend anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks undergoing a series of simple whitening treatments.